For more of Kent's Bird & Wildlife photography visit -
Sightings can be Emailed to:
Marc, Martyn & Brendan
Marc Heath - Heathym007@aol.com
Number of species recorded in the valley this year so far = 155
Non Avian sightings
Birding at Grove Ferry today in dull showery conditions produced, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Little Owl, 1 Tawny Owl and 1 Barn Owl. There were 4 Cuckoo's (including the hepatic female), 3 Green Sandpipers, 1 Great-crested Grebe, 3 Pochards, 1 Little Grebe and 1 Kestrel. The immature Spoonbill was still present from Harrison's hide and there were 9 Little Egrets, 4 Grey Herons and 7 Marsh Harriers including two juveniles. A large number of Swifts were moving west as well as several feeding over the pools with many Sand Martins. There were, 5 Common Terns, 4 Turtle Doves, 2 Water Rails, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Hobbies, 10 Teal and 2 Ringed Plovers. Birds with Families included several Reed Warblers, Cetti's next to Green Hide and 5 Bearded Tits at the ramp. Threre were also, 4 Tufted Ducks, 1 Snipe, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Bittern at Green Hide but, no sound of the booming male near Marsh Hide today. The early hours also produced 2 Pipistrelle Bats and 1 Noctule Bat.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Alan Ashdown & Steve Ashton)
Highlight of today came when we saw a fledged but still fluffy Long-eared Owl chick in flight on the edge of the paddock at 3.49 and, later in a path side tree showing fairly well and allowing photograph's to be taken, magic. Also today, sadly cut short by dreadful weather, the immature/1st summer Spoonbill was still present until 8.54 when it flew towards Stodmarsh. There were, 12 Little Egrets, 2 Cuckoo's 1 Bittern (booming), 3 Marsh Harriers including 1 juvenile, 1 Sparrowhawk and 2 Jays. On the lake at Stodmarsh were, 24+ Common Terns, 123 Greylag Geese, 2 Tufted Ducks, 4 Great-crested Grebes and 65 Cormorants were in the "Cormorant" trees. Also noted today were, a pair of Bullfinches, 2 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, a couple each of Chiffchaff and Blackcap, 1 Kingfisher and 2 Ring-necked Parakeets. A large number of Swifts were moving west in the early hours plus a handful of Sand Martins and Swallows were noted. Tits seem to have done well this year with numerous family parties of Blue, Great and Long-tailed being seen. Finally there was a family of at least 3 Cetti's Warblers on the side of the ramp.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Pete Solly & Steve Ashton)
The morning started with a Barn Owl at the entrance gate at 3.43, then the Bittern could be heard whilst on the ramp and a Hobby flew by at 4.15 followed by a Long-eared Owl at 4.16 flying into the paddock. The Spoonbill was located on Harrison's pool before relocating to the right pool from the ramp and there were 5 Little Egrets and 7 Grey Herons. A couple of very pleasant hours were spent in the company of Dylan whilst all the time the Spoonbill was not playing ball and remained hidden behind the reeds! Two Marsh Harrier nests have produced a single chick each and 6 adult birds were seen as well. The only other bits to add were, 2 Kestrels, 2 Water Rails, 5 Common Terns, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Redshank, 2 Cuckko's, 4 Stock Doves and 2 Snipe. There were several low feediong Swifts and a scattering of Swallows and Sand Martins while Turtle Doves were ever present with thier melancholy purring plus there were, 8 Tufted Ducks, 3 Pochards, 3 Great-crested Grebes and 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath Alan Ashdown & Dylan Wrathall)
I saw a Spoonbill on the main lake at 14.15 today - Grove Ferry - also hand over in air of prey between 2 Marsh Harriers.
Grove Ferry birding today produced, 2 Long-eared Owls, 14 Little Egrets, 4 Hobbies (the first being seen at 3.40am), 8 Marsh Harriers and 3 Green Sandpipers. There was, 1 Redshank, 7 Turtle Doves, 2 Cuckoo's, 3 Great-crested Grebes, 1 Snipe and 1 Ringed Plover. The Bittern was still booming but had moved further towards the Alder Wood whilst another Bittern was seen in prolonged flight behind the main pools at Grove and possibly a 3rd dropped into the back of Green Hide pool . There were a few Bearded Tits calling amongst the reedbeds, 1 Little Grebe, 10 Tufted Ducks (1 female), 2 Kestrels, 1 Peregrine Falcon, a Common Buzzard and a Mediterranean Gull flew over calling. The drake Garganey showed at Green Hide again but, no sign of the two females from the ramp today. Two drake and one duck Pochard seen but no sign of the three ducklings today. Lapwing numbers have started to build up with, 38 on the main pool and several more on surrounding fields and plenty of family parties of:- Reed & Sedge Warblers, Blue, Great & Long Tailed Tits and also Reed Buntings.
(Martyn Wilson, Alan Ashdown, Steve Ashton & Marc Heath)
Today was a very good day for Owlers as, four out of the five were recorded prior to 4.30 this morning. Marc first saw a Barn Owl at 2.58 and then added to that were 2 Little, 2 Tawny and 2 Long-eared Owls. What a fantastic start to the day that, unfortunatley went a bit downhill afterwards with blustery south/west winds and heavy downpours. Today also had us watching and/or hearing, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 booming Bittern, 9 Little Egrets, 7 Marsh Harriers, 1 Kingfisher, 7 Green Sandpipers and 2 Hobbies. The female Pochard still has three fluffy youngsters plus there were 1 other female and 4 drakes. There were 4 Common Terns, 3 Great-crested Grebes, 2 Snipe, 11 Grey Herons, 3 Cuckoo's, 8 Turtle Doves, 1 Water Rail and 8 Tufted Ducks. The drake Garganey was again in front of Green Hide and 2 female Garganey were from the ramp. There were 15 Teal, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Redshank and 1 Kestrel, with family parties of:- 6 Bearded Tits, 9 Great Tits, 7 Blue Tits and several Reed and Sedge Warblers as well as Reed Bunting families.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Steve Ashton & Mike Gould)
I made a brief visit to Grove Ferry before work today in the hope of some good birds but not that much was showing. The following were logged: 2 Cuckoo, 2 Marsh Harrier, 3 Cetti’s Warbler, 4 Little Egret, 3 Great crested Grebe, 1 Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard, 3 Common Tern, 1 Little Grebe and 1 Kestrel. There was a drake Garganey again from the Green hide on the raft but he looks far from his best. Also: 2 Green Woodpecker, 1 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap, 1 Hobby, 1 Turtle Dove and 2 Chiffchaff on song. There was a few Swift overhead with a few Swallows also noted. A couple of Bearded Tit were seen in front of the ramp and Mallard and Gadwall numbers continue to increase. Reed and Sedge Warblers were still very much evident in the reeds.
Started from Grove at about 9:30am and headed along the Stour, heard at least 3 Chiffchaff, 20 Cetti’s, 8 Reed and 2 Sedge Warblers calling, also 3 Turtle Doves calling from across the river and 1 Lesser Whitethroat heard near Lake Hide. Two Marsh Harriers seen over reed-beds. Saw Banded Demoiselle, Azure and Red-eyed Damselflies.Lake Hide showed about a dozen Common Terns and I stopped trying to count the Greylags individually and estimate at least 150. There was a Great-crested Grebe, 12 Cormorant and 6 Heron. Also two hobbies across the far side of the lake.Nothing of note to add from Reed-bed Hide except for 2 pinging Bearded Tits (very briefly). Green Woodpecker seen going in and out of nest-hole in tree right by path to the car park.20 Long-tailed Tits around car park and Blackcap heard.Marsh Hide produced little of note, but an immature Reed Bunting was being fed by its parents nearby.Burnam’s Lake had 1 Little Egret, , 4 Pochard, 4 Shoveler, 2 Tufted, 1 Ruddy, 2 Gadwall, 4 Teal and about 100 Mallard.Also seen/heard while walking around were 1 Little Grebe (from Turf Fields Hide), 11 Lapwings, 3 Cuckoos, 2 Goldfinch, 4 House Martins, 4 Swallows, 2 Swifts, 6 Reed Buntings, 2 Common Whitethroat (heard only), and 1 Willow Warbler (heard only).Finished back at Grove at about 16:45.
(Keef and Gail Pankhurst)
Visited Grove at dusk with John Cantelo to see if the Crane was showing, which it wasn't. Highlights included a drake Ruddy Duck, at least 9 Marsh Harriers including 7 in the air together and a Long- eared Owl showing well near the the entrance track.
With news of the Common Crane at Grove yesterday I decided on an early visit today to see if I could get better views than I had the other night of a blob in the darkness. I arrived at 3.45am and spent most of the time scanning from the ramp with a brief walk around the paddock. The following birds were noted until I left for breakfast at 6.30am: I had a brief view of the Common Crane in flight from the back pool at 6.10am; it then dropped back into the back pools and was not seen again. A Long eared Owl was seen hunting the fields just to the East of the ramp. There was 1 Hobby seen at 4am, 3 Cuckoo, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 3 Grey Heron, 12 Pochard, 1 Great crested Grebe, 1 Turtle Dove purring in the paddock and 3 Green Sandpiper seen a couple of times in flight over the back pools. Also noted: 2 Water Rail, 2 Little Egret, 4 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine Falcon, 1 Green Woodpecker, 3 Linnet, 1 Lesser Whitethroat singing in the paddock, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Little Grebe, 46 Lapwing and a few juvenile Blue and Great Tits seen around the ramp. The usual mix of Reed, Sedge Warbler and Reed Buntings were in fine song.
At 15.15 a Common Crane circled over the area and landed at 15.40 on the back pool behind the left hand main pool from the ramp. It appeared to be an immature.
(Tom & Kay Robertson)
After yesterday’s successful mission to Dungeness with Steve to tick off the Great reed Warbler and then Grove to see the shape of a Common Crane in the darkness, I made a brief lunchtime visit to Grove to see what was about. I only viewed from the ramp and noted the following in my 45 minute stay: 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Marsh Harrier, 4 Cetti’s Warbler including 2 newly fledged birds, 2 Cuckoo, 21 Lapwing, 3 Little Egret, 6 Tufted Duck, 2 Turtle Dove and 2 Linnet. There was 1 Common Tern, 3 Pochard including 1 female with 3 ducklings, 2 Goldfinch and good numbers of Mallard in various plumages along with Gadwall. The usual mix of Reed and Sedge Warblers were in fine voice as usual.
Spent the early evening exploring the area around Hersden where there were 76 Mute Swans, 11 Gt-cr Grebes, a singing Lesser Whitethroat and a Tawney Owl, flying in daylight. Arrived at Grove at 8.00pm to find an immature Common Crane roosting in front of the ramp.
A phone call from Brendan at 8.00pm had me rushing back to Grove to add Common Crane to my valley year list. A nice find by Brendan and, expected after recent reports of a local bird.
(Martyn Wilson, Brendan Ryan & Chris Gibbard)
Not such a nice day today with a heavy mist throughout the valley, a Tawny Owl called from 4.00-4.20 and the 7 Little Egrets were still present. There was 1 Water Rail, 1 Bittern (booming), 6 Marsh harriers, 1 Jay, 3 Great-crested Grebes and a somewhat unseasonal female Stonechat on the approach to Marsh Hide. There were, 2 Green Sandpipers (could these be early returning migrants?), 1 Little Grebe, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Redshank, 4 Common Terns, 3 Cuckoo's and 9 Turtle Doves. A Few Swifts, Martins and Swallows were feeding low down and there are still plenty of Reed & Sedge Warblers, Meadow Pipits & Skylarks and a family of at least 5 Cetti's Warblers outside Green Hide. A Pochard female was accomanying 3 freshly hatched ducklings on the main pool and the drake Garganey was again in front of Green Hide. Bird of the day was an Oystercatcher that flew around, found no suitable place to stop, and flew of east at 12.10. Other bits today included, 1 Hobby, 1 Kestrel, 8 Grey Herons, 10 Teal, 1 Shelduck and a drake Ruddy Duck.
(Martyn Wilson, Alan Ashdown, Pete Solly, Steve Ashton, Brendan Ryan & Marc Heath)
At Collard's there were 7 Hobbys, 64 Coot, 2 Pochard a kingfisher and a singing Nightingale
What a fantastic day, weather wise! not as forecast, just a shame it wasn't mid May, Oh well. Today at Grove/Stodmarsh were, 4 Little Owls, 1 Tawny Owl and a Long-eared Owl in a dead tree along the entrance path at 4.10. There were, 5 Shelducks, 3 Nightingales, 8 Tufted Ducks, 7 Little Egrets, 2 Great-crested Gebes, 7+ Hobbies, 5+ Marsh Harriers, 3 Redshanks and 2 Bitterns (1 by Harrisons, in flight out towards Preston + the booming male by Marsh Hide). Three Bar-headed Geese flew in at 4.54 and a flock of 25 Grey Geese that flew in from the south, over and onwards north north east were 24 Greylags and a single White-fronted. There were, 5 Pochards, several Turtle Doves, 8+ Common Terns, 9 Grey Herons, 1 Little Grebe and a Black-tailed Godwit flew west at 5.19. A rather ragedy drake Garganey was showing well from Green Hide in obvious advanced moult. Reed and Sedge Warblers were all attending young and a family of Cetti's Warblers were being fed outside Green Hide plus there were several Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings and Linnets, many with Young. Also today were, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1+ Snipe, 3 Cuckoo's, 1 Kestrel, 2 Kingfishers, 5 Jays, 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Sparrowhawk and a Common Buzzard drifted over at 12.15. A family of Bearded Tits were also at Green Hide. A few Swifts, Martins and Swallows were noted and 27 post breeding Lapwings past over.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Brendan Ryan, Steve Ashton & Alan Ashdown)
Called in at Collard's in the late afternoon just as the sun finally emerged on what had been quite a wet day. The burst of sunshine had brought out the raptors with 14 Hobbies, a Sparrow Hawk several Marsh Harriers and a probable Honey Buzzard soaring high above the lake. I was tempted to count the duck but fortunately I couldn't find any, so I resorted to counting the Coot ( 110). At Stodmarsh the Bittern was booming at 5.40
An evening visit to Grove produced 11 Teal, a drake Garganey, 2 Little Egrets and 2 Gt-cr Grebes
With the whole of east Kent seemily blanketed in fog and just 20yards visibility, there's not much to report today. A Tawny Owl called on several occasions between 3.50 & 4.20 and the Bittern was booming near marsh hide and although Cuckoo, reed & Sedge Warblres were heard most of our time was spent in green hide watching a Shrew come in under the door, travel along the back wall and disappear into the corner before, returning the same way. This happened every copule of minutes. Then a phone call from Brendan alerting us to a Squacco Heron at Oare Marshes livened up the morning so, along with Steve and Alan (both who'd never seen Squacco) we headed of to Faversham, duly ticked this superb bird and after a one half to two hours headed back to Grove Ferry, still fogged up but, with more visibility, with not much more to add. Just 3 Marsh Harriers, 1 drake Ruddy Duck, a few Swifts, Sand & House Martins, Chiffchaff and a Teal, plus a Green Woodpecker and a Great-spotted Woodpecker. Just outside the Valley at Preston Steve added a very obliging Spotted Flycatcher to his year list plus some stunning photo's (one below).
(Martyn Wilson, Steve Ashton, Alan Ashdown & Pete Solly)
On the Grove Ferry/Stodmarsh circiut today were, 1 Tawny Owl, 4 Cuckoo's, 5 Great-crested Grebes, 10 Tufted Ducks, 5 Grey Herons and many Reed & Sedge Warblers. There were also Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Blackcaps, 3 Garden Warblers and at least 10 Cetti's Warblers. The Bittern was still near Marsh Hide but, could also be heard from the Lampen Wall and the river bank. There were, 6 Turtle Doves, 2 Little Grebes, 3 Jays, 4 Nightingales, 6 Marsh Harriers and a splendid family party of 9 Long-tailed Tits. A couple of Bearded Tits were seen, a single Little Egret showed briefly and the only waders were represented by 1 Redshank and 7, yes seven, Lapwings. Several Swifts were feeding high and a few House Martins were noted but, no Swallows or Sand Martins. A Great-spotted Woodpecker crossed the reed beds several times, 4 Black-headed Gulls flew west, 2 Shelducks flew south, 1 Water Rail was heard and 2 drake Ruddy Ducks, 1 Kestrel, several Linnets and 7 Hobbies were also seen.
(Martyn Wilson, John Cantelo, Alan Ashdown & Steve Ashton)